After a lengthy search, I found my highlight tape from the 1987 World Figure Skating Championships, which were held in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.
Wow - these championships were chock-filled with GREAT performances!! The audience was huge, enthusiastic, and very receptive to all of the skaters. I remember watching much of the competition on live television, which was such a treat to the many avid figure skating fans living on the east coast of the US.
Katarina Witt of East Germany regained the World title she had lost to Debi Thomas of the USA the previous year. Katarina skated what was perhaps her best-ever long program, and she convincingly won the title. She landed five strong triples to selections from "West Side Story", and she played the role of
"Maria" to the hilt. The number was filled with energy, speed, and Katarina looked absolutely stunning in her black fringed dress. It was obvious as she neared the end of her program that nobody was going to catch her. When she accepted the audience's cheers and left the ice, laden with bouquets, Scott Hamilton, who was covering the championship for CBS television, stated, "Katarina has just said, "Beat that!" to the rest of the field."
Scott had a very nice live television interview with Katarina in the kiss 'n cry area after she had received her winning scores. She said, "It was so hard for me to go out and skate after Debi. I was nervous, but I wanted to show the audience that I could skate my best under pressure and regain my title."
Debi Thomas skated well, but it wasn't good enough to catch Katarina. Debi was then attempting to juggle full-time pre-medical studies at Stanford University with her figure skating training, and she came to Cincinnati with loads of textbooks, homework, and assignments. That she won the silver medal was a tribute to her talent and competitive spirit, IMHO.
Caryn Kadavy , the US bronze medalist, won the bronze medal at the Worlds with a lovely, graceful performance that was reminiscent of Peggy Fleming. It is a fantastic achievement to medal at Worlds in your first year!
The sad note in the women's competition was the meltdown of
Elizabeth Manley of Canada, who had been red-hot during the practices and was in an excellent spot to challenge for the gold medal going into the long program. Elizabeth skated to selections from "Gigi", including "The Night they Invented Champagne". She became unglued right from the start and missed several jumps. When she finished the long program, she looked as though she was in complete shock. Her marks dropped her to fourth place, out of the medals.
Jill Trenary , who had upset Debi Thomas at the US Nationals, was making her first appearance at Worlds. Jill blew the compulsory school figures, finishing out of the top ten in that phase of the competition, so she did not have a realistic chance to medal at this Worlds. Jill's long program, however, was very strong and displayed her great potential.
This was the year that Brian Orser of Canada finally won the World title. He did so masterfully, with a two-triple axel long program and great choreography. Brian Boitano, the 1986 World champion, skated well but made a few errors, including a muffed quad attempt, and finished second. Alexandr Fadeev, the 1985 World champion, won the bronze medal.
When Brian Orser approached the podium to receive his gold medal, he stopped momentarily at the second-place spot and then slowly ascended to the gold-medal stand. In essence, he made a "that's one giant leap for mankind" statement. Good for you, Brian! Well done. When "O, Canada" was played for Brian, he became quite choked up. I was glad to see him win the World title, after so many close misses.
Christopher Bowman of the US wowed the audience with his energetic performances. Many proclaimed him at that time as the "next US champion".
Ekatarina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov of the Soviet Union easily defended their World title. They were the class of the field, without question. They were then 15 and 20, and it seemed that a relationship was in the works, from their expressiveness and the emotion that filled their performances. Their skating was artistic, magical, and powerful. What a brilliant pair they were!
The silver medal was won by Elena Valova and Oleg Vasiliev, who had lost their World title to G & G the previous year, and the bronze medal was won by Jill Watson and Peter Oppegard of the US.
Natalia Bestimianova and Andre Butkin of the Soviet Union defended their world title, with Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomrenko defending their silver medal and Tracy Wilson and Robert McCall of Canada defending their bronze medal.
I remember reading newspaper articles that spoke of the huge traffic jams to and from the arena where the 1987 Worlds was held. So many tickets had been sold, and parking spaces were at a premium. Clearly, the Worlds were a HUGE draw at that city.